Now that the month of November is upon us, most of us will be traveling to visit family and friends and taking vacations over the holidays. With the stress of traveling (coupled with the possible stress of being with family), it especially important that we take care of ourselves and eat like Superwoman! While you might think, “holiday whew hew,” the last thing you need is to begin starting to feel run down.
This summer on trips to London, Colorado, Texas and Long Island as well as camp drop offs and picks ups in North Carolina, I was assaulted by all of the airport and side-of-the-road food options: goey pretzels covered with butter and salt, greasy pizza, French fries, and a “healthy” frozen yogurt spot, and I am not even going to mention the magazine shop filled with candy, chips and granola bars laden with sugar!
In an environment like this, it’s hard to eat healthily while traveling!Right??? Wrong!!!
While it takes a bit more planning to eat healthily when you are in a car, on a plane or just away from home, it is actually very easy when
you have the right systems in place. Plan your meals while you are traveling as carefully as you plan your workouts, and you won’t be sorry!
Here are my “Rules of the Road” (or plane):
Rule #1: Pack healthy foods to bring with you.
When you are training for a marathon or working out a lot, and suddenly find yourself on the road, it is essential that you plan ahead and pack lots of healthy, easy to grab snacks and a few other essentials. When you have healthy food on hand, you won’t be tempted to reach for unhealthy food at the airport, train station or on the road.(See below the staples I pack while traveling)
Rule #2: Time your meals.
For example: don’t arrive at the airport starving! And, if you do, have a healthy meal on hand to eat immediately when you get there. Do not pass go, do not collect $200, and certainly do not pass by all of the yummy smelling vendors selling stuffed pretzels and other delectable items! (They actually blow the scent out of their booths to attract you, but don’t be tempted!)
Rule #3: Hydrate (with water)!
Often when we think we are hungry, we are actually dehydrated. I know airports make drinking water a complete racket, but once you pass through security buy the biggest bottle of water you can find and proceed to drink it all. (Or travel with an empty sports bottle, and fill it up at a drinking fountain.) Sorry to your seat partner if you are not on the aisle, but oh well. You will arrive at your destination much more relaxed and refreshed.
Rule #4: Don’t drink alcohol on a plane, and don’t be tempted by salty peanuts!
Alcohol will dehydrate you, and dried peanuts and other salty snacks will leave you bloated and retaining water. You will feel terrible after you get off of the plane, and often this will lead to a pattern of unhealthy craving and eating to “boost” your energy. Not to mention, that all of this will lead to wrinkly, dehydrated and dull looking skin.
I adore nuts and make sure I am not deprived and always carry a bag full of raw walnuts or pecans to look forward to!
Rule #5: If it’s not a salad (without dressing or covered in cheese), a steamed vegetable, crudite, brown rice, a veggie wrap, raw nuts, gum or water – do not buy it on the road! ’nuff said.
Here are my ‘traveling essentials’. I literally do not leave home without them:
- Pre-packaged, plain, all veggie green salad (bring from home or buy on the road)
- An avocado
- A lemon (pre-cut into quarters to use for salad dressing)
- A baggie with 3 oz olive oil (use as salad dressing)
- Package of dulse flakes (sea vegetables high in iodine, iron and B12)
- A baggie with a handful of plain nuts (to put on my salad or have as a snack)
- A baggie of Sproutman’s Crunchy Sprouts (high in protein and live enzymes.) I put these on my salad and/or much on them)
- A Lara Bar (Cookie Dough is my favorite since I love chocolate)
- Chocolate Covered Cherries or Bananas by Next Organics (for a real treat when on a long journey)
- Dried papaya or mango (dried travels better than fresh!)
- Baby carrots
- Pure Synergy Green powder (for making a green smoothie in a pinch)
- Whole grain pretzels or crackers with almond butter to dip them in (almond butter now comes in individual “travel packs” so look for it at your local health store!)
This is what I carry in my suitcase:
- Sun Warrior Chocolate Protein Powder
- Pure Synergy Greens Powder
- Laughing Giraffe and Earthling Organics Raw Granola
- More nuts (I love walnuts, pecans and pistachios)
- Raw, unsweetened almond butter (You can pretty much get whole wheat toast anywhere nowadays! Spread with almond butter, slice a banana on top and drizzle some honey for a delicious breakfast!)
- Lara Bars or Raw Revolution Bars
How do I use what I’ve packed?
Arriving at airport
Usually, I find that I arrive at the airport around lunch time. But, if I do arrive around breakfast time, then I will either have a Lara Bar and buy some fresh orange juice at the airport. Or, if I am very organized, I will fill a to-go container with my granola and fresh berries then buy some soy milk on the other side of security to pour over it.
I went online and bought a bunch of recyclable containers for this purpose, and you can also usually pick some up at Whole Foods if you are shopping there (usually they don’t mind if you grab a couple from the salad bar.)
Lunch: I typically bring a green salad (perhaps with some cherry
tomatoes, shaved carrots or whatever I am in the mood for) in a container with me along with an avocado to slice on top later, some walnuts, olive oil and lemon. If I have not had time to pack a salad, then I will buy a plain green salad at the airport. I also will buy 2 huge bottles of water before I board the flight.
* note: avoid aiport salad dressings at all costs as they often have tons of sugar and salt in them. Some even have high fructose corn syrup!
Snack: I might have the nuts, if I haven’t already. Or, I might snack on raw carrots or a Lara Bar. If I really need a pick me up and am craving the Toblerone bar in the gift shop, a handful of the chocolate covered bananas or cherries satisfies the urge. Another option is to buy a bottle of soy milk and add some greens powder or chocolate protein powder and you have a healthy shake or “iced latte” of sorts.
The snacks you pack to travel with will also come in handy once you have reached your destination!
A few weeks ago, I was in London with my son, and the dried fruits, Lara Bars, raw nuts and other snacks I packed were so nice to have while we were waiting in long lines and out pounding the pavement doing the “tourist thing”.
I brought Sun Warrior Protein Powder and Pure Synergy Greens Powder and talked the hotel into whipping up breakfast and post-run smoothies for me. I checked ahead of time and they had almond milk; so almond milk, a banana, some ice cubes and the protein and greens powders make a delicious smoothie on the go!
The remaining mornings, I had the rest of my Laughing Giraffe Granola.
Think you don’t have the time to pre-pack or pre-plan? No excuses! It takes literally 5 minutes to throw together all of the above (once you have done the shopping).
Keep these items on hand in your house for whenever you are on the go. It takes days to undo bad eating while traveling. Planning makes such an enormous difference to your health and energy level, so take as much time planning out your meals on the road as you do your workouts, and you will return from your vacation or business trip, not feeling depleted – but full of life and energy